On Monday, March 5th, Adam Rubin of the Daily News was kind enough to give us some of his time to answer a few questions for Mets Merized Online.
Adam Rubin has been the Daily News’ Mets beat writer since 2003. He is a Long Island native and author of “Pedro, Carlos and Omar: The Story of a Season in the Big Apple and the Pursuit of Baseball’s Top Latino Stars.” (A link for the book is on this page.)
Currently Adam is in Port St. Lucie where he is covering the Mets from their training camp.
The five questions that we posed to Adam, were chosen from over 150 questions that were submitted to us from our friends at myspace.com/metsmerized. It was in response to one of the bulletins we sent out after we confirmed the interview. I hope you enjoy it.
Adam, thanks for taking some time to do this for us, our readers are very excited, and they were able to come up with some very good questions, so here we go.
Mets Merized - Why are the Mets not interested in talking about a contract extension with Paul LoDuca? Do they want him back after this season, do they have another catcher in mind, or do they have one waiting in the wings? Derek – Huntington, New York
Adam – Paul Lo Duca turns 35 on April 12, which is a lot of tread on a catcher. I by no means think it’s a foregone conclusion that Lo Duca is gone after the 2007 season, but I also agree with Mets brass in that there’s really no incentive to lock him up before knowing how he produces, and whether he remains healthy, this season. Lo Duca isn’t a risk to go elsewhere in free agency. He bought a townhouse in Nassau County and wants to stay.
I strongly suspect Omar Minaya would love to sign Pudge Rodriguez, but I’ve been assured by a Tigers official this spring that he won’t be hitting the open market. Rodriguez has a $13 million team option with a $3 million buyout.
The Mets probably will need to go outside the organization if they don’t re-sign Lo Duca. I suppose there’s a chance they can make Ramon Castro the first-string catcher if he can prove he can remain healthy, since offense from the catcher’s spot doesn’t have to be a priority, but there’s really no one else in the system who can step in soon.
Francisco Pena, Tony’s son, is only a teenager. And while they seem to like Mike Nickeas, the player acquired from the Rangers for Victor Diaz last August, his offensive skills still need to be proven.
Mets Merized – The Mets didn’t make much noise this offseason, but they did make a few small trades and sign a few veterans. Which offseason acquisition do you believe will have the biggest impact on the team this season and why? Joey -Brooklyn, New York
Adam – Ambiorix Burgos seems like the real deal, though scouts warn his control betrays him in games, which sounds a lot like Armando Benitez. I’d say the Burgos acquisition, primarily because Moises Alou — who will be valuable hitting behind David Wright — probably is too big a name to qualify for your question.
Mets Merized - How do you think the Mets starting pitching will hold up through the year, considering that we are relying on two 40-year old pitchers to anchor the staff? Chris – Las Vegas, Nevada
Adam – Minaya talks about numbers, and the Mets certainly have that, so from that sense it’s okay. If Chan Ho Park holds off Mike Pelfrey for the fifth starter’s spot, the New Orleans rotation could include Pelfrey, Philip Humber, Jason Vargas, Aaron Sele and Alay Soler. That’s not too bad a safety net. Pedro Martinez should be back strong in August, which will be a nice boost. And to allude to my last question, if Burgos is as good as forecast, perhaps Aaron Heilman will be expendable and can be packaged in July with Lastings Milledge for a capable starter. That said, there are no guarantees, from El Duque and Glavine’s health, to whether John Maine and Oliver Perez can replicate what they did in the postseason.
Mets Merized – What do you think are the odds of someone not named Shawn Green being named the opening day starter in RF. Obviously it’s only spring training, but Green has looked awful whereas Chavez, Johnson, Newhan, and Milledge have all looked great. I can understand the Mets preferring Chavez off the bench because of his flexibility, but if Milledge, Newhan or Johnson have the ability to outproduce Green, could he be released or benched for one of them? Devon – East Setauket, New York
Adam – I’ve said before that I suspect Shawn Green is going to have a tough time retaining a full-time job all season, despite his pronouncements that he’s fixed a hitch in his swing that caused his power drain.
Green is now 0-for-10 this spring. It’s going to take a complete meltdown for him not to be the Opening Day right fielder. I don’t project Lastings Milledge or Ben Johnson on the roster on April 1 right now, but if Green swoons all spring, perhaps the Mets will have to revisit their need to carry 12 relievers rather than another outfielder.
I can’t foresee the Mets releasing Green, though.
Mets Merized – I’m sure there are a lot of Mets fans out there that would absolutely love to be a beat writer for the New York Mets. Can you tell us your what is your favorite part of the job as well as your least favorite? Joe – Mets Merized Online
Adam – My favorite part is getting to know players when they’re 18 or 19 years old, like David Wright when he was drafted, then see them blossom at the Major League level — here or elsewhere. It’s not just Wright. Mike Jacobs, Scott Kazmir, etc.
Least favorite: I don’t particularly like offseason rumors, but probably the travel. Being on the road 160-170 days a year kind of takes a toll.
I want to thank Adam again for his time, and for giving us a little bit of insight into some of the many questions on the minds of most Mets fans as we head into the 2007 season.